You’re driving along and notice a tiny crack or chip in your windscreen. You may think to yourself that this isn't worth paying the excess on your car insurance policy to repair. So what is the deal with repairing or replacing your windscreen on your car insurance policy? We explain all you need to know about windscreen cover and what to do in the event you need to repair or replace your windscreen.
Windscreen damage is one of the most common issues dealt with by car insurance companies, and it is easy to see why. Driving on busy streets, your windscreen might take the battering of one too many small stone chips, or on a frosty morning, your windscreen might finally crack under the pressure from the heat in your car.
Even the smallest chips and cracks can eventually become much larger problems as they weaken the glass of your windscreen, so it is best to deal with even the smallest of issues as early as possible by having it repaired on the spot and avoid having to replace the entire windscreen altogether.
But does your insurance include windscreen cover? Depending on your policy, standalone windscreen cover could be included as standard or it could be an extra you need to pay for. Make sure to read through your policy carefully to find out what your car insurance covers you against.
On a comprehensive car insurance policy, at the very minimum your windscreen will be covered much like the way every other part of your car is covered. So if your windscreen is damaged and you want to get it repaired, you make a claim, pay the full excess and you will be able to get it fixed. However, this standard cover means even if you only have a minor chip you would still need to pay the full excess. And remember that windscreen cover will not be included on a third party policy, as this type of policy does not cover damage to your vehicle.
Windscreen damage is so common and often very easily fixed that making a claim and having to pay the full excess would probably be extremely bad value. Plus, you would lose out on your no claims bonus discount. So is there a better way?
Many insurers offer specific windscreen cover as part of your insurance policy. This means that you have a separate aspect to your car insurance specifically for your windscreen. This would normally cover the cost of any repairs and replacements needed to be made to your windscreen. You would still be expected to pay the excess for each claim, but it will be much lower than the full excess you would need to pay for any standard car insurance claim. In addition to this, any claim made on a standalone windscreen cover should not have any impact on your no claims bonus.
In some cases if you only need to repair a chip or small crack in the windscreen, the car insurance company may not even charge you an excess. The lower excess fee may only be applicable for a larger job or a full windscreen replacement, so double check this on your policy.
The amount of excess you get charged for making a claim on windscreen cover will vary with each car insurance company, but it could end up being more expensive if you decide to not use one of their approved repairers. Many insurance companies will have partnerships with approved repairers, so check with them first before getting it fixed, as they may put a limit on how much you can spend on repairs, meaning you would have to pay out of your own pocket for the remaining shortfall.
You will also want to get it fixed as quickly as possible regardless of whether or not you have windscreen cover. If you do have cover and you delay and the windscreen crack gets bigger, your claim could be invalidated. This is because the car insurance company will be able to see that the damage could have been fixed for a lot cheaper if you simply made the claim earlier. Likewise, if you don't have windscreen cover and the chip gets larger, chances are the windscreen might be beyond repair and you will have a larger bill trying to get it replaced.
Ultimately though, having a larger crack in your windscreen is dangerous, and could see you fail your MOT and even get you stopped by the police if deemed to be illegal.
Some windscreen cover policies can also pay to repair your car's bodywork if any of the broken glass from the damaged windscreen has scratched the car or chipped off some of the paint, for example. Check if side windows and rear windows are covered in the policy too, as this could prove to be a good money saver later on should you need to make a claim on a smashed window outside of your standard car insurance policy.
Some comprehensive car insurance policies will include standalone windscreen cover, but some will still ask you to pay extra for it. This may only end up costing you somewhere between £30 and £50 per year and you may only have to pay an excess of around £50 in the event you need to replace the windscreen.
Getting windscreen cover as an add-on can be a great way to save money on car repairs, as this service without insurance can normally cost around £60 to £100 for the most minor chips plus any additional fees for call outs made out of standard office hours. The costs can quickly escalate if there are multiple chips or extensive damage to the windscreen. Most windscreen repair companies can repair your windscreen fairly easily and without charge if it's a small crack. Ideally, the crack or chip should not be within 6cm of any edge of the glass. The crack or chip should be a maximum of 28mm at any point, unless it appears within the 30cm wide vertical band in front of the driver's view - in such cases the crack or chip should be no wider than 10mm.
If you don't have windscreen cover, start comparing car insurance policies to see which ones do include it as standard, and see if you can get a better deal.